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Ganon: A smashing board? It's a shield! It's a shield! It's for defense!

Link: (pummels Ganon to death with the shield) Works ok for me.
Link Didn't Get Sword, Dorkly Bits

Your shield can always protect you, if you so choose. However, it can be useful for more than just defending. Shields are relatively large, heavy, and hard to counter because you are attacking and defending at the same time. So why not go on and hit your opponent with it?

As shields are less suitable for that than weapons, they do less damage but sometimes cause Standard Status Effects, stunning is the most popular result. Using shields that way is a staple characteristic of shield-wielding type of Stone Wall. Also, shields can have spikes on them (often a single one in the center).

Note that in real life, this was actually a fairly practical technique before the days of gun powder turned shields obsolete, and is still practical in scenarios that don't involve being shot at. A shield is large, sturdy, and oftentimes heavy, and by its very nature, bashing with it leaves one less open for counter attack than plenty of other techniques. Many historical shields were even designed with some sort metal protrusion for just this purpose. It's still not as damaging as say, stabbing someone with a sword, but is also harder to block, less expected, and doesn't mean that one can't bash a target with a shield and then stab before the target can recover. Particularly dangerous are a number of fellows forming a wall of shields and charging forward like a mobile wall, especially while carrying something sharp in their other hand, ready to thrust through the gaps between the shields.

If reality is really out smoking and your battles aren't supposed to be realistic, the shield can be thrown like a boomerang.

Examples of Shield-Bash include:


Video Games

  • Riot shield mooks in Batman: Arkham City are among the most annoying enemies. They are immune to standard attacks (so accidentally punching one breaks a combo), their attacks can't be countered, and when you finally take one down, the shield remains for another mook to pick up.
  • Diablo II has some skills for Paladin.
    • In Diablo, it deals same damage as a punch or kick, but it gives you the chance to block enemy melee strikes.
  • World of Warcraft Paladin's Shield of The Righteous (Avenger's Shield is another thing) and Warrior's Shield Slam and (former) Shield Bash abilities. The shield slam is a simple damaging attack, while the shield bash (when it existed in the game) interrupted spellcasting. In its last days, Shield Bash did no damage, despite working by smacking someone with a shield.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: The warrior's "tank" skill branch has one skill involving a weapon. Others are passive skills, defensive stances or this.
  • Dragon Age II: An ability for Aveline, and Sword-and-Shield wielding Player Characters, as well as a standard attack when they need to close the distance with a target (if not in a defensive stance at the time). The ability has an Area of Effect, and can be upgraded to give the "exposed" status to enemies, readying them for a devastating Combination Attack from Magi or Rouges.
  • Crusader/Paladin in Ragnarok Online.
  • Goofy and Vexen in Kingdom Hearts.
  • The Vanguard bloodline of Bloodline Champions has an ability called Shield Slam, dashing a bit to swing with their shield, knocking back hit enemies and reducing their ability to damage or heal. This is also the logical conclusion as to why hitting them in melee when they are using their Reflect ability (in which they duck behind their shield for the duration) stuns the attacker.
  • A key skill of the human knight and defender in Rohan Online, which has the ability to stun an enemy (either a mob in PVE or a human opponent in PVP), costing him several seconds worth of attacks.
  • In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, you can ram with the shield as an attack.
  • In Team Fortress 2, the Demoman can do this with the unlockable Chargin' Targe. The first hit after charging becomes either a Critical Hit or a mini-crit depending on how far he charged, but the shield itself has a spike on it that will do damage if he runs directly into an enemy from far enough away. The newer shield, the Splendid Screen, trades less damage reduction for a more damaging Shield-Bash and no minimum distance required to hit the enemy from to do it.
  • Vandal Hearts (2, at least) has shields as a weapon category. It does what it's supposed to do: attacks coming from the side of the shield has a significantly higher chance to be blocked. Of course, its attack power sucks. Two shields however, have spikes to increase damage. One of them gives you a movement handicap since it's too heavy, while the other is practically an Infinity Plus One Shield.
  • In the game Age of Mythology the special attack of Ayax is a shield bash that send flying the enemy.
  • City of Heroes has the Shield Defence powerset. As the name implies, the set is almost entirely defensive; however, it includes the Shield Charge power, a cone attack which deals some hefty damage and has a high chance of Knockback.
    • In addition using the base attack 'Brawl' with a shield in hand will sometimes cause the player to backhand a foe with his shield.
  • This has appeared in two The Legend of Zelda games, where it works differently in both appearances. In The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, Link can learn it as one of the Hidden Skill techniques, and involves slamming your shield into an opponent, stunning them. It can later be used in combination with another devastating move, the Helm Splitter, that allows you to jump up over your opponent and cleave their skull in half. In Skyward Sword, Link has to shield bash just when an enemy attacks him, opening up an opportunity for a sword combo.
  • In early Dungeons and Dragons, this attack was known as a "shield bash" or "shield punch". It was more effective if a spiked shield (a shield with a spike sticking out the front) was used.
  • Phantasy Star Zero features a class of Shield weapons that can be used for specifically guarding with the L button or otherwise your standard melee attacking.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online: As the game's main tank classes, it comes as no real surprise that both the Guardian and Warden make extensive use of Shield Bash type moves.
  • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, one of Firion's HP attacks is called "Shield Bash", though it's actually not an example of this trope: it's a Beehive Barrier that, if it blocks an opponent's attack, triggers a counterattack consisting of a flurry of thrown knives. On the other hand, many of Warrior of Light's attacks play this straight, with the shield being thrown around and, apparently, controlled telekinetically to slam into enemies edge-first while charging or similar attacks. And then there's Shield of Light, his main HP attack, where he puts the shield in front of him, and it explodes in the opponent's face in a blast of holy magic.
    • The Raptor class in Final Fantasy Tactics a 2 can do this in the typical way, which can also inflict Disable. Hilariously, the weapon that teaches them this move is a two-handed sword. You can't actually use the move when wielding it, unless you took the time to learn Monkey Grip, to wield two-handed swords with one hand, leaving the other free for shields.
  • Sophitia and Cassandra of the Soul Series have a few attacks using their shields. They can also equip spiked shields.
  • Players wearing shields in Z Angband have a chance of getting in a shield bash.
  • The Turtle Tamer class in Kingdom of Loathing has Shieldbutt as one of its skills, a never-miss attack based on the power of the player's shield.
  • Urban Chaos: Riot Response's riot shield was useful for knocking out enemies.
  • Pantheon from League of Legends jumps to an enemy and bashes him with his shield, stunning him in the process. Singed holds his shield in right hand and autoattacks with it.
  • Kanji from Persona 4 uses shields, and is the physically strongest and bulkiest party member. He starts off with a foldaway metal chair, though. Ironically, he never uses it to defend, even when using the Guard command, he rather blocks incoming attacks with his bare hands.
  • Shields are awesome in Front Mission 3 anyway, and the Shield-Bash ability is one of the most damaging melee attacks in the game. Of course, the bashing is being done by a Giant Mecha the size of a building.
    • Front Mission 4 keeps it, as an extremely damaging counterattack skill.
  • Perseus in God of War 2.
  • Possible in Dwarf Fortress, though the shield is treated as an Improvised Weapon and thus uses the "Misc. Object User" skill instead of the "Shield User" skill (which is just for blocking).
  • A bash is one of the combat moves added by the popular Deadly Reflex mod for The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. You can do it with a weapon or bare-handed too, but using a shield is more effective.
  • Puzzle Quest 2: Shield Bash is the first (and eventually most powerful) of the Templar class' offensive spells. It also has the bonus effect of removing all status effects from the player.
  • In Killer Instinct, Spinal can stab and electrocute opponents with his shield.
  • Sprinting with the Shield Power active will effectively make Alex a battering ram in Prototype.
  • GM series mobile suits can ram enemies with their large shields in Dynasty Warriors: Gundam. A few other units also use their shields to attack.
  • The Genlock Alphas in the Dragon Age II DLC "Legacy" carry huge shields that render them all but immune to frontal assault and attack by charging you like a battering ram.
  • In Dragon Nest, the one of the Cleric's first two skills are this.
  • The shield bash is an incredibly useful move in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and some of the perks within the Shield tree allow it to be enhanced further, so it can actually deal reasonable damage, knock an enemy back, or even cause them to drop their weapon. The main use of it, however, is to stun an enemy for a few moments, which if used at the right moment can interrupt their attacks and leave them vulnerable.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic V has this as a creature ability.
  • In Project M, Pit gained an upward shield attack for extra K.O. power.
  • Reyn, the resident Mighty Glacier party member of Xenoblade Chronicles specializes in a shield/lance hybrid weapon called a driver, and can use it to stun toppled enemies with his Shield Bash art, notable for having the lowest cooldown of all moves capable of causing the effect.
  • Estelle and Flynn from Tales of Vesperia both utilize shield bashes in some of their artes.

Anime

  • In To Aru Majutsu no Index II episode 24, Touma swings a riot shield at Hamazura, and rips out his nose-ring in the process.

Comic Books

  • Captain America uses his shield as a melee weapon in addition to throwing it. It's also a staple of his video game incarnations (Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Marvel vs. Capcom, etc.).
  • The Taskmaster uses his shield in a similar fashion, which is not surprising insomuch as he learned the skill from Captain America. In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, he even shouts "Just like Cap!" when attacking with his shield.

Film

  • In Mortal Kombat, Johnny Cage uses a shield picked up from a dead warrior in Scorpion's lair to not only withstand the undead Scorpion's fiery Breath Weapon (which is a Fatality in the games the movie is based upon), but also as a melee weapon, using the saw-bladed edge of the shield to nasty effect against him.
  • The Spartans do this in 300, during the roughly thirty seconds of film time they spend actually fighting in a Phalanx like they claim to. They follow the bash up with a quick spear thrust before bashing again.
    • The more chaotic scenes also show several characters bashing with their shields, as well as swinging them edge-on as weapons.
  • Achilles uses his shield this way in Troy, in his duel with Hector, as does Paris against Menelaus.
  • In the film version of Prince Caspian from The Chronicles of Narnia, Miraz uses this move during his duel with Peter.
  • Captain America does this of course in Captain America: The First Avenger and sends Hydra soldiers sailing ten feet into the air.
  • In The Fellowship of the Rings, the Uruk-Hai captain tried to use his shield against Aragorn in the final battle.

Live Action TV

Tabletop Games

  • Shield bashing is a little-used tactic in Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition. You can even buy spiked shields for better damage or enchant your shield with magic weapon abilities.

Webcomics

Real Life

  • Truth in Television, of course. Roman legionnaires often attacked with their tower shield first. One such move was to slam their shields down on their opponents' feet (very useful back in the day when most armies marched around in sandals.
    • This tactic was widespread among Vikings and other Norse warriors; they would even sharpen the iron rims of their shields to make them more effective in this role.
  • Theatrical stage combat as taught by the Society of American Fight Directors includes "sword & shield," where you are taught to bash shields together to make a nice "clang" sound without actually hurting each other. It's actually rather difficult, some never master this.
  • Center-grip shields under various names are used offensively in martial arts from Turkey, Iran, the Indian sub-continent and the Malay archipelago including the Philippines. Uses include striking, trapping, distraction, unbalancing and levering the opponent's shield out of the way.
  • This is the very purpose of small but heavy shields like the buckler and targe. They don't provide much protection but they basically turn the left hand into a Power Fist. Some models are made entirely of metal.
  • European fighting manuals from the Middle Ages through the seventeenth century or so include similar techniques. How these were actually applied is a matter of reconstruction and speculation.
  • One of the most popular examples happens to be the Spartans. Every piece of combat performed was with a shield (Which, by the way, was a few FEET in diameter), completely bronze, with a leather backing. This was, of course, excellent for bashing.
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